Sound Bites - Issue #17 - January 2015
This Month's Topics:
- A Happy New Year Filled with Professional & Enrichment Classes!
- What’s New: Open House with Lady J
- Inspiring Stories: What a Year 2014 Was!
- Featured Instructor: Marlene Hutchinson: Play Guitar in One Day!
Career & Contract Ed.
A Happy New Year Filled with Professional & Enrichment Classes!
Happy New Year! With SMC Community Ed’s vibrant Winter Session under way, we are now looking ahead to an even heartier Spring Semester – with more than 170 classes, workshops and tours, including several new offerings. Registration for both sessions is now open, and spring classes begin Feb. 21.
With a theme of career training and professional development, we’re offering a wide range of courses in spring designed to help students advance their careers.
We’re particularly excited to launch our Paralegal Academy, which offers professional paralegal certification that opens the doors to high paying careers in as little as 11 months.
We’re also pleased to partner with the SMC main campus to offer the brand new ‘Career Coach,’ a free online program available to the public that will assist users find training programs at SMC, compare wages and employment trends, find “live jobs” in their fields, and build a professional resume in minutes.
Marking another first, we’re excited to offer an Open House for five consecutive days – Jan. 26-30 – that will give attendees a chance to meet instructors and staff, receive discounts, enter into a drawing for a free class and receive a surprise gift. Each Open House will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bundy Campus, Room 112, 3171 S. Bundy Dr., Los Angeles.
Of course, we also offer a wide range of fun enrichment classes that will guide our students to creative expression, healthy minds and bodies, language skills and much more.
I’m always surprised at the interesting and creative mix of new courses we are able to offer our community. For example, some of the new classes for spring are Ayurveda Spring Cleanse Retreat, Dressing from the Inside Out©, Conversational Italian, and Director’s Journal: How to Develop Your Directorial Style.
Many of these new courses are a result of student demand, demonstrating that we try hard to be responsive to the community’s wishes. Similarly, because of the great response to our tours, we will be offering two in the spring and adding a greater number of tours in future semesters.
Specifically, the two new tours this spring are Santa Barbara Orchids by Rail with Coast Starlight Train and The Bold & the Beautiful: Carlsbad Village Faire & Coastal Gardens with Champagne Brunch.
Best wishes for a successful and fulfilling 2015!
Director of Career & Contract Education
Community & Contract Education
What’s New: Open House with Lady J
It's a new year, so first thing first: Happy New Year! I have a good feeling about 2015, and hope the same for all our dear readers. We have some exciting things in the works for this year: flash sales and new classes that will increase your pulse are just a couple of the things that came to mind. What's more immediate on the radar, however, is the first ever Open House for Community Education coming up soon.
A little background on how this Open House came about: I was chatting with the lovely Jocelyn Winn of our office – aka Lady J for those of you in the know – late last year about some of our long-time students who are accustomed to coming in and registering with us in person. We both agreed it has been a wonderful experience meeting our students, and then the idea struck that we should invite EVERYONE to come in and meet us, because we are really a friendly bunch and would love to make your acquaintance!
But seriously, I often felt our office, the largest open office space on the first floor at Bundy, is always throbbing with the beat of the campus, and the joy we feel everyday on the job is something that ought to be shared with everyone. On a regular day, we have streams of students coming in to register or make inquiries and instructors coming in to visit and check in. There is never a dull moment in this big family environment.
For this Open House, we are blatantly offering our attendees a 15% discount for all classes registered during the visit, and all our guests will be entered into a drawing for a chance to
win a free class valued at $99 or less. Still hesitant? How about all visitors will receive a surprise free gift from us? And in case Lady J, Luis, and I are simply not enough entertainment, we will also have a meet-and-greet with some of our instructors to answer any questions you may have. So, have I tempted you enough to take a walk through our office door in January? I certainly hope so. We will be waiting and we hope you'll be there!
The first Community Education Open House will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 26-30 in Room 112 on the first floor of Bundy campus, 3171 S. Bundy Drive, Los Angeles 90066. Come and meet us!
Inspiring Stories: What a Year 2014 Was!
What a year 2014 was!
We expanded our course offerings in both the enrichment and career arenas, opened a small exhibit space for student art and photography, launched our SMC MindSpace blog, and partnered with the nonprofit Determined to Succeed to offer at-risk, motivated students a printmaking summer camp.
But what’s been particularly rewarding has been to learn of the amazing lives, achievements and life-altering experiences of our students and instructors, as chronicled in this newsletter, Sound Bites, and in our blog.
If you missed any of these stories, or want to revisit any, here is your chance:
- We learned of the extraordinary life of French instructor Dr. Margaret Drach and her staggering litany of achievements: a Ph.D. from Harvard and a doctorate from the Sorbonne; the ability to speak nine languages, most of them self-taught; a series of globetrotting music and singing gigs that took her from Paris nightclubs to the Catskills to the Caribbean; and an academic career that included teaching at Hunter College, the United Nations and – for 20 years – SMC Community Ed. All of this, despite a poor immigrant background.
- We were heartened to discover how two of Photoshop instructor Greg Van Zuyen’s students – Devin Slatas and David Indacochea – were inspired by him to make significant changes in their lives.
- We were blown away by the irrepressible Amin Sadeghpour, who is legally blind and developmentally challenged, but takes basketball and other classes at Community Ed, has written a novel, performs in plays, studies the law on his own, and sings and plays instruments.
- Student Susan Bernard told us in an inspirational blog entry that for “a newbie artist” (she took her first-ever art class when she was 60 at Community Ed), “I had no idea how motivational and inspirational my inclusion in a (Community Ed art) show would be.”
- We were dazzled by the gorgeous images of semi-retired TV industry executive Andy House, who has cultivated his photography passion for years through Community Ed.
- We were enchanted by student Maxine Meltzer who was inspired to write a poem paying homage to her Japanese Calligraphy instructor Kazuko.
- We were in awe of voice instructor Heather Lyle’s unique and joyful approach to teaching singing – and of a career that has taken her all over the world as a singer, performer and recording artist.
These are just some of the many wonderful stories of our special community of students and instructors – and of the magic that happens in our classrooms.
Featured Instructor: Marlene Hutchinson: Play Guitar in One Day!
Guitar playing and teaching came later to Marlene Hutchinson than many, but that has not dampened – in fact, it has fueled – her passion for the instrument. She started playing the guitar in 2002 and began teaching shortly after that.
What’s particularly unique about her teaching is that she has developed a workshop called Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!™ – and delivers what sounds like an impossible task.
“People are so excited about how much you can learn in a day,” she says.
Using that same format at SMC Community Ed – where she has been teaching since 2011 – Hutchinson has received enthusiastic student reviews as well as plenty of media attention for her unique approach to teaching guitar. (Her next workshop at SMC will be offered Saturday, March 28.)
Originally formulated to meet the needs of busy adults, the workshop is based on her private lesson program format and is equivalent to about six weekly private lessons.
The former elementary school teacher and married mother of four has taught the workshop to thousands of students at colleges, universities and other locations around the United States.
In 2011 she produced a DVD of the workshop, which airs periodically on PBS. She and her workshop have also been featured on CBS, KCAL 9 News (Los Angeles), NBC, Orange County Register, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and The Women’s International Music Network website, as well as several print publications.
In addition, “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!”™ is a 2014 Acoustic Guitar Player’s Choice Award nominee. Hutchinson is a clinician and spokesperson for the Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA) and a Contributing Editor for Making Music Magazine.
Hutchinson, of Orange County, is the owner of Marlene’s Music ~ Guitar Lessons, Guitar Workshops and Guitar Products; the author of the “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!”™ book; producer and star of the “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!” ™ DVD. In addition, she has recorded 2 CDs.
How did you get to be a guitarist and guitar teacher?
My guitar journey began in 2002, when I thought it would be cool to play guitar, so that was my New Year’s resolution. I found a group lesson, bought a starter guitar, and from the first strum I was hooked. I loved playing so much that I played frequently for all types of audiences – my kids’ classrooms, my own classroom (I used to be an elementary school teacher), church band, local festivals, senior care facilities, and friends’ homes. Within a year several people asked me to show them how to play, and my guitar lesson program was launched. My concept was to keep it simple and basic so that my students could begin playing right away.
What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being a musician?
Best: The opportunity for me to actually create music. I love to sing too, so it’s fun to play and sing along with my songs. I like to share my music whether I’m performing or just sitting around with friends jamming, it’s just so peaceful to make music.
Worst: Not one thing!
What’s been the highlight of your career as a guitar teacher?
My program airing on PBS was a huge milestone and being featured on CBS & KCAL-9 this year was a thrill! The most recent highlight was meeting a man who recognized me at an event. He told me that he plays guitar all the time, thanks to me getting him started, and that “playing guitar has changed his life.” That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing – guitar changed my life and I know it can make a difference in other peoples’ lives too!
Tell us one to three things that most people don’t know about you.
I took 6 months off during college and went on a road trip around the United States and Canada with my best friend. We went to 38 states and 3 provinces in Canada. It was a wonderful way to see this amazing country!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Skydiving! I thought it would be cool to try and it was super cool. Though I must admit that jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is a bit nuts, once your parachute opens (thankfully), then the peace and quiet you experience is like none other. The views are fantastic too!
What do you like best about teaching at SMC Community Ed?
I like teaching at SMC because the staff makes it simple for me to focus on what I do best, which is to share the wonderful world of guitar with my students. SMC does a terrific job of managing the various administrative aspects of teaching, like registration, and SMC provides the facilities that are just right for my students.
What turns you on most about the guitar?
I like to try a new skill/technique and then work hard to “master” that skill. It can be frustrating, but when I’ve got it, it’s a fantastic feeling. The sound of an acoustic guitar is sweet and the smell of the wood makes me appreciate its origins. I also like playing familiar songs that evoke fond memories. Sometimes the inspiration for a song will simply be hearing a tune while out somewhere, like the grocery store, and thinking “I forgot about that song and how much I like it.” Then I’ll look up the music and play the song.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Playing guitar on the beach!
Who are your favorite guitarists and/or musicians?
Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Page, Tommy Emmanuel, Nancy Wilson, Neil Young.
What kind of music do you like best?
I like most any kind of music. I tend to lean towards the music from the 70’s and 80’s, but I like contemporary songs/artists too.
What tips do you give your students?
- Find music/songs that you really like because then you’ll be more inspired to play your guitar frequently.
- I remind my students that when you practice you are making muscle memories and the more you practice the more permanent the memory – “practice makes permanent.” Another way to put it is: Step 1: Play guitar, Step 2: Repeat step 1! The more you play the better you get.
Anything you would like to add?
My mission is for everyone in the world to play guitar because it’s so much fun!